California Police Chief- Fall 2013 CPCA_2019_Spring Magazine- FINAL - Page 15

Sisters hoped to introduce a positive male role model into Jacob’s life, someone who could be a calming influence, provide motivation and encourage his dream of one day working in law enforcement. Bigs with Badges is an ideal program for youth like Jacob, who are at an impressionable age where opinions of police are shaped by family, peers and media. Mentoring is also beneficial to the personal development of youth facing adversity. In the Big Brothers Big Sisters program locally, 68 percent of youth participants live below the poverty line, which puts them at greater risk for poor academic achievement, behavioral and emotional problems, chronic health issues and developmental delays. Half are being raised by single parents, grandparents, a sibling or foster parents, also contributing to greater health and education challenges. With a mentor, higher educational goals can be set and attained. Last year, 99 percent of the Big Brothers Big Sisters class of 2018 graduated high school, compared to the state average of 83 percent (California Department of Education, 2018). Indicative of the generational change that is possible through mentoring, 74 percent of the Big Brothers Big Sisters graduates were the first generation in their family to finish high school. Studies show that participants in the nationwide program have the potential to earn, on average, $315,000 more over the course of their lifetime compared to low-income peers who did not have a mentor (Boston Consulting Group, 2013). These individuals who benefit from mentorship at a young age help change their communities as adults by being gainfully employed, donating to charity and volunteering their time to better the next generation. For 12-year-old Jacob, the first step on his mentorship journey began when he was matched with a sergeant with the Buena Park Police Department last year. Immediately after program launch, officers and civilian employees from the department jumped at the opportunity to volunteer and connect with disadvantaged youth. This program also serves as a way to get police officers more involved in the community in a non-enforcement role and develop positive relationships with families in the city they serve. While the long-term benefits will become greater defined as the program matures and mentor-mentee relationships grow, all partners are confident that Bigs with Badges will help children view police officers in a different light. Their positive experiences through the program will lead them to tell friends and family that cops are people, too. Ultimately, youth engagement is the path to erase the “us versus them” mentality that exists between law enforcement and the community. We believe Bigs with Badges is a positive path to understanding, trust, and safety in Buena Park. ■ POWERFULLY SIMPLE. PURPOSEFULLY SMART. Over 25 public safety agencies in California use Mark43’s cloud-native platform for dispatch, records, evidence, and analytics. We’re proudly building the future of public safety software in partnership with our customers and their communities. “ Unless there is physical evidence that needs to be booked, we don’t have to come in to the station. Our time can be spent out in the field where we should be.” – Officer Frank Garza Placentia Police Department, CA | 212.651.9154 | SPRING 2019 | California Police Chief 15